Meet Davy Boi, the talented LA-based artist who is seducing us with his deliciously smooth voice and upbeat summery sounds. Davy Boi is pushing boundaries with his queer anthems, advocating for diversity and inclusivity in the mainstream music industry. His latest track ‘Foundation’ explores a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, it’s about finding the new you, and we’re here for it.
How did your journey into music begin?
Growing up in Louisiana in the thickness of the church community in the south I first was exposed to great music in church. I grew a real passion for choir and performance and really the pageantry of music from an early age standing behind a pew on my tiptoes trying to see the action but certainly being able to hear the sound. I later started classical vocal music training at LSU around 8 or 9 and then I just took off from there. I’ve never gone to a non-arts school from elementary school through Berklee College of Music.
What’s your creative process?
It all starts with a visual for me. I see something in either a situation or a memory or something on screen and then I get this spark feeling, like there’s music in that. Almost akin to musical theatre in which the music comes from a character being in such a heightened emotion that they have to sing it and not say it. Like my new song “Foundation”, I cry each time I sing it because for me each word is a picture in my mind that I vividly remember and I’m singing through it. Then after I get that picture I call my producer, set up a session, make the track with him, then record a clean vocal, mix it to radio quality, master it to make it shine and then boom, a Davy Boi track is ready.
You’re premiering your latest music video at Queer X. Can you tell us more about that?
Yeah, so the video is for my song “Dirty Mind”, which has done really well this year. The video has been through so many rounds of edits and actually had a private screening where we took home even more great notes on the content and now I think it’s really really ready and beautiful. It was directed by River Gallo & Sadé Clacken Joseph, some really in demand filmmakers who also happen to be my dearest best friends and it was actually their first time co-directing even before River’s Ponyboi project. It’s about two boys of color getting into a colorful queer relationship and it’s something not always seen in the media.
Your upcoming track ‘Foundation’ is about personal growth and confidence. Can you tell us more about what inspired this track?
Foundation, whether or not people like it or not, is one of my favorite pieces of music. It feels like a musical number even more than a cookie-cutter radio track and I like that about it. For the past 3 years in LA, I’d felt very lost or rather I’d always questioned if I was ever going to find my community or breakthrough in the music scene. Also, if I was ever going to find love, and more importantly find self-love. Well, on Foundation the statement is clear in saying that I feel like a brand new bitch. I’m less afraid and more confident and it’s still the same me but with a new outlook, a new foundation to stand on.
You’re speaking on a panel for Queer X this weekend that explores “Pioneering the Queer Music Industry”. What challenges come with being a pioneer in the queer music industry, and the music industry in general?
I think it’s hard to cut through the noise in the music biz regardless of whether you are queer or however you identify, that’s the first thing. The challenge of being of a queer artist in popular music is that there is no blueprint of how to do it successfully for either the labels, or us as artists. Every video, every song, every piece of content by a queer artist trying to pursue a career in popular music is an act of courage & also a protest, or rather a challenge to the images in media that came before that don’t reflect how we are currently expressing ourselves. Personally I’d say it’s hard for fans & media to check you out with the “queer” label, and that’s something that needs to change, because just as African-American soul or R&B artists weren’t making “race records” back in the ’60s & ’70s, queer-identified artists aren’t making queer-music as a genre. Queer musicians are making good music, great music in a lot of cases that’s stellar without the queer label and in every genre.
Do you think it will be possible for the music industry in the future to accept queer artists simply as artists, rather than defining them by their gender or sexual preference?
I think eventually artists that identify as queer will not be labeled by queer as a genre, but will just be artists with great music. Demographics are changing rapidly and currently right now today the artists that are out there being brave and trailblazing new paths are making that possible. It’s beautiful to see so many queer artists & music producers, mixers, songwriters, etc. thriving either behind the scenes or in front of the camera and the strategy I think we need to adopt is to lift each other up into the mainstream. It’s not a competition if my other gay artist friends are thriving or if they are getting features etc. Us all living our truth in music together is mapping out the blueprint for artists that identify as queer for generations to come. Frankly, I think in the future more people will be identifying as queer, or not identifying at all, which is just the way the culture is evolving.
Who are some artists you would like to collaborate with?
Currently, I’d say Jesse Saint John is someone I really have been inspired by, as well as Robokid. I’d love to do something with Kim Petras or Lizzo in a dream world 6 to 8 months from now or a year out. Justin Tranter is one of my biggest inspirations as a songwriter as well as Starrah. Tayla Parx is stunningly amazing at what she does and that would be the holy grail of a studio session. Lastly, I’d say Steve Lacy would be great to work with in the studio & I’d love to do a duet with Serpentwithfeet (ugh the vocals).
Can you share with us what you’re currently working on?
Currently, I’m working the final mix of my summer single which is a ballad style banger named after one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s a song literally 3 years in the making that’s on its 4th round of production because the song is amazing and a great song really can live in multiple productions. I think this year I’ve found the sound I always wanted for it & can’t wait for people to hear a more purely vocal artist Davy Boi. It’s a shimmering ballad about lost love and mixed emotions all wrapped up in one of the world’s most beloved cities. It’s dropping in July of this year (2019) and I’m shooting the music video for it in 3 weeks. Very excited for everyone to hear me being vulnerable.
Catch Davy Boi performing at the Queer X event this weekend. We are offering a limited amount of free passes for Subvrt followers using the code DAYX. Grab your tickets here.
Interview by Sahar Nicolette
Photos by Gustavo Oliver @g.0liver & TheyShootThem @theyshootthem